Italian Phrases For Dummies
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Italian Phrases For Dummies

Francesca Romana Onofri, Karen Antje Möller, Francesca Romana Onofri, Karen Antje Möller

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eBook - ePub

Italian Phrases For Dummies

Francesca Romana Onofri, Karen Antje Möller, Francesca Romana Onofri, Karen Antje Möller

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Everyday conversations in Italian made easy
Italy is a perennially popular destination for Americans, with three cities (Florence, Rome, and Venice) among the top ten in Travel & Leisure's 2003 "World's Best Cities" poll. This concise, easy-to-use guide helps travelers and students get up to speed fast on conversational Italian, showcasing the most commonly used words and phrases.
Francesca Romana Onofri is an Italian translator and teacher.
Karen Moller is a writer who has worked on several Italian-language projects for Berlitz.

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For Dummies
Chapter 1

I Say It How? Speaking Italian

In This Chapter

Taking note of the Italian you know
Appreciating cognates
Looking at popular expressions
Starting out with basic Italian pronunciation
Y ou probably know that Italian is a Romance language, which means that Italian, just like Spanish, French, and Portuguese, is a child of Latin. Latin was once the official language in a large part of Europe because the Romans ruled so much of the area. Before the Romans came, people spoke their own languages, and the mixture of these original tongues with Latin produced many of the languages and dialects that are still in use today.
If you know one of the Romance languages, you can often understand bits of another. Just as members of the same family can look similar but have totally different characters, so can languages. You find the same contradictions in the dialects (regional or local language differences) in Italy and in other countries.
If you visit Italy, you’ll hear various accents and dialects as you travel the country. Despite the number of dialects, you may be surprised to discover that everybody understands your Italian and you understand theirs. (Italians don’t normally speak in their dialect with foreigners.)
We don’t want to go into detail about these regional and local differences here. Language is a means of communicating with people, and to speak to people from other countries, you have to find a way to understand them and make your meaning clear. Because using gestures to make yourself understood can be tiring, this chapter presents some helpful expressions to make life easier, at least as far as Italian is concerned.

You Already Know Some Italian

Italians love to talk. Not only do they enjoy communication, but they also love their language, because it’s very melodious. Opera is famous for a reason!
Although Italians are very proud of their language, they’ve allowed a flood of English words to enter it. They talk, for example, about gadgets, jogging, and shock; they often use the word okay; and since computers marked their lives, they say cliccare sul mouse (kleek-kah-reh sool mouse) (to click the mouse). And Italians are like most others when they get TV remotes in their hands: Oftentimes, you find them lo zapping (loh zap-ping) (switching channels).
On the flip side, many Italian words are known in English-speaking countries, such as these famous food and beverage words:
pizza (peet-tsah)
pasta (pah-stah)
spaghetti (spah-geht-tee)